This is a bit of a weird review, because I've only tried Bruno Acampora's Musc as a candle and in its EDP formulation - I've never had a chance to wear the original iconic musc oil from the 70's.
The candle is nice, but uneventful. If you've smelled cheap "Egyptian musk" oils, it smells like that - sort of a sweet hippie vibe.
The EDP version is terrible. It's basically an especially woody "woody amber" perfume. Imagine something like Dior's Sauvage (woody aquatic) but with the cypriol dialed way up, so there's an exaggerated artificial woodiness. The musk comes through more as a general sweetness than the focus, while the focus is on an Axe-style chemical base. Unless you're a diehard fan of men's designer scents looking to spend well over $200 on something you should be able to smell like for much less money, I wouldn't bother.
Hopefully, I'll get my hands on a sample of the 70's oil at some point and figure out what the fuss is all about, but by all means, skip the EDP. But for now, I'll vote neutral because at least I enjoyed the candle...
Acampora's Musc the only patchouli-prominent fragrance that I really love. Perhaps, in part, because the patchouli note is leavened and made much more fascinating by the addition of clove and rose and sandalwood. The oil version wears like an attar and starts out with a surprisingly fungally mushroom scent that rather quickly evolves into something bewitching: an incredibly sexy forest floor. Now, it smells slightly rooty and spicily mossy, with its dusty vegetation filtered through an autumn afternoon's sunlight. There are still hints of the mushroomy patchouli and an absolutely divine and sort of "fuzzy" 3-D musk unlike any you've ever encountered. It's elven in its magic and somehow both vegetal and sensual at the same time. It's an ambrosia fit for tiny forest dwellers or gorgeous, androgynous gypsies.
A hesitant thumbs up and not a neutral rating because it's a good creation and some people may like it. There is some muskiness to it, though I didn't find it very pronounced. The musk is on the white side, vaguely chalk-like but not powdery. The scent reminds me a bit of a marshmallow. A slight peppermint-type note, possibly the clove, and a tiny bit of what may be the violet come through. Other than that, I can't distinguish any other notes. Some might call this a skin scent, as it doesn't really project on me. However, it's a comforting scent. Review from a vial sample.
This review is for the EdP spray, released in 2012.
This is a dirty musk, and by dirty, I mean not fecal nor animalic, but literally of, or from, the dirt.
Two quick sprays to the forearm. I get Musk, rose, ash, leather, dirt, cardboard, pepper, and more dirt. There is a green, celery note. And an oily, only slightly animalic musk. After a bit, a peppery tobacco notes comes forward to join the dirt. There is a sharpness to the scent, which must be the clove. 1.5 hours in, the rich, somewhat fruity rose note comes forward, blending well with the clove. As the scent develops, there is little change. The green celery note disappears eventually, but the other notes soldier on, in approximately the same proportions. There is a vaguely woody note in the background, but nothing recognizable to me as sandalwood, and the vanilla is so low key as to be nearly absent--a good thing, imho.
The principal note, the musk, remains as described–dirty, oily, organic, but only slightly "animalic." Projection is moderate, and longevity at least 16hrs.
Verdict: This is a WINNER. Fall, Winter, Early Spring.
This is the opposite side of the coin from the justly celebrated Muscs Koublai Khan of Serge Lutens. That was animalic, dirty, and drop dead sexy with its heady warmth and honeyed depths.
Acampora's Musc is, to borrow adjectives from Barbara Herman's description, "sharp, earthy, green, camphor with a decided mushroom note." It certainly is complex and odd. For those who love green scents you could hardly get greener than this.
It's not for me - too pungent, too sharp and green. I far prefer the Lutens, but to rate it objectively, it certainly is a fine musk and deserves a thumbs up.
The Ashley Houbigant White Musk and the Coty Wild Musk, popular drug store brands, contain hardly any of their title ingredient and should be avoided at all costs. Acampora's Musc is expensive - $220 for 10 ml of the oil and $135 for 50 ml of the edp. For the latter concentration it parallels the cost of the Lutens.
So far it would seem that the Acampora line has produced 10 scents in 40 years, stretching from this first hit in 1975. I'd be curious to sample his others, now that I've had a positive introduction to his first.
Degree is the determining factor explaining why Bruno Acampora's Musc is special. The immediate impression it gives is of cheap musk oils available on the Indian market which try to approximate the smell of real musk. They manage to harness some of the warmth and sweet sensuality of the real thing and thus bear a passing resemblance like a grainy video grab of the perpetrator. This Musc takes that odour profile and elevates it into a luxurious and well-balanced invitation. World of difference.
So apart from this being an accomplished realization of the musk note of a particular pedigree, I should also point out a touch of salty spice (cloves, but not too clovey), some dry amber and quite an earthy, woody patchouli that marries well with the musk.
Review is for EDP.